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Lower Cretaceous (Hauterivian-Albian) ammonite biostratigraphy in the Maestrat Basin (E Spain).

1. Introduction

The presence of Lower Cretaceous ammonoids in the Maestrat Basin (E Spain) has been known since the second half of the nineteenth century (e.g., Vilanova, 1859; Coquand, 1865). There are many works, meeting abstracts, and doctoral theses that are focused on and/or contain data of this ammonoid record. However, the literature remains dispersed and difficult to access. Many studies are outdated because ammonoid biostratigraphic knowledge is continually improving, as indicated in the numerous reports from other Lower Cretaceous localities of the Tethys (e.g., Cecca et al., 1999; Avram, 1999; Delanoy, 1995; Dutour, 2005; Ropolo et al., 2000; Aguado et al., 1997; Moreno-Bedmar et al. 2009a, 2010a; Najarro et al., 2011; Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2012a), as well as in the subsequent versions of the standard Mediterranean zonation published during the last two decades (Hoedemaeker and Bulot, 1990; Hoedemaeker et al., 1993; Hoedemaeker et al., 1995; Rawson et al., 1999; Hoedemaeker et al., 2000; Hoedemaeker et al., 2003; Reboulet et al., 2006; Reboulet et al., 2009, Reboulet et al., 2011). The stratigraphic knowledge and understanding of the Lower Cretaceous of the Maestrat Basin has also evolved and improved in recent years (e.g., Salas et al., 2001; Bover-Arnal et al., 2010).

In the present work, we update and review the biostragraphic ammonoid knowledge of this basin following the latest version of the standard Mediterranean ammonite zonation (Reboulet et al, 2011). The ammonite zonation in Mesozoic sedimentary successions is the most useful biostratigraphic tool as it supplies the most precise zonation. Therefore, this study also provides a reference for the analysis of coeval ammonite-bearing successions found in other basins of the Tethys.

2. Geological setting

The Maestrat Basin is located at the eastern Iberian Peninsula (Fig. 1). It corresponds to an intraplate rift basin, which developed during the Late Oxfordian-early Late Albian as a result of the spreading Atlantic Ocean and the opening of the Bay of Biscay (Salas & Casas, 1993; Salas et al., 2001). The rift stage structured the Maestrat Basin into 7 sub-basins: Galve, Aliaga, Oliete, Morella, El Perello, Salzedella and Penyagolosa (Fig. 1) (Salas and Guimera, 1996). During this time, a sedimentary succession of up to > 2500 m thick made up of continental to hemipelagic deposits accumulated (e.g., Canerot et al., 1982). The depocenter of the basin was located at the Salzedella Sub-basin (Fig. 1). During the Paleogene the Alpine orogeny caused the inversion of the Iberian Mesozoic rifts, and the Maestrat Basin gave rise to the eastern part of the Iberian Chain (Salas and Casas, 1993; Salas et al., 2001).

The ammonite biostratigraphic analysis reported in this study is focused on the Hauterivian to Albian stages (Lower Cretaceous). Ammonites occur within 8 lithostratigraphic units named, from older to younger: Gaita Formation (Hauterivian), Morella Formation (Barremian? Aptian?), Forcall Formation (Aptian), Villarroya de los Pinares Formation (Aptian), Benassal Formation (Aptian), Dehesa Formation (Aptian), Escucha Formation (Albian) and an Albian unit of green marls lacking a formal name (Figs. 2 and 3).

The Gaita Formation is constituted by a hemipelagic succession of marls and limestones (Salas, 1987). The Morella Formation is made up of fluviatile sandstones and red clays, which were occasionally influenced by tides (e.g., Canerot et al., 1982). This formation is characterized by the presence of dinosaur remains. The Forcall Formation corresponds to a succession of marls, marly limestones and limestones. This is the most prolific formation in terms of ammonoid content of all the lithostratigraphic units studied (e.g., Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2010a). Other macrofossils present, or locally characteristic, within this formation are orbitolinids, nautiloids, brachiopods, vermetid gastropods, solitary corals, serpulids, echinoids, Plicatula placunea and Lithocodium aggregatum (e.g., Bover-Arnal et al., 2010; 2011). The Villarroya de los Pinares Formation is mainly made up of platform top carbonates, which change laterally to slope facies exhibiting marllimestone alternations (Bover-Arnal et al., 2009). Characteristic fossil content found within this formation include corals, Chondrodonta and rudists such as Toucasia carinata, Caprina parvula and Polyconites hadriani (e.g., Bover-Arnal et al., 2010; Skelton et al., 2010). The Benassal Formation is primarly formed by very-shallow marine to transitional alternations of clays, marls, marly limestones and limestones. Common skeletal components are orbitolinids and shells of Toucasia sp., nerineid gastropods and brachiopods (e.g., Canerot et al., 1982; Bover-Arnal et al., 2010). The Dehesa Formation is made up of a succession of marls and skeletal limestones. This formation is the lateral equivalent of the Benassal Formation in the Oliete Sub-basin (Canerot et al., 1982). The Escucha Formation mainly comprises a succession of continental clays, sandstones and coal. However, its base, where the ammonites occur, presents a transgressive interval with marine calcarenitic limestones and marls (Canerot et al., 1982; Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2008). The Albian informal unit of green marls analysed corresponds to transitional deposits stratigraphically located between the fluvial sandstones of the Utrillas Formation and the marine limestones and marls of the Mosqueruela Formation (Canerot et al., 1982).

3. Material

This study is mainly based on more than 3000 specimens of ammonites collected during the last 30 years from numerous Lower Cretaceous outcrops in the Maestrat Basin (Fig. 1). The localities sampled are the following. In the Salzedella Sub-basin: La Torre d'en Domenec section (Moreno et al., 2007), the area of Traiguera (Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2008), and in the environs of the village of Sant Mateu, we studied Les Bassetes del Coco de l'Estaca and La Gaita sections (Tomas, 2007). In the Penyagolosa Sub-basin: the Cingle del Morral section and La Ferradura area (Benicassim-Orpesa area; Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2009b), and the surroundings of Xodos and Benassal. In the Galve Sub-basin: the Barranco de las Calzadas and Villarroya de los Pinares sections (Bover-Arnal et al., 2010 and Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2010a). In the Morella Sub-basin: the Mola Garumba area, and the sections of Cap de Vinyet, Todolella, Mas del Roc and Mas Segura (Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2010a). In Oliete Sub-basin: the Tejeria de Josa and Barranco Emilia sections (Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2010a). In the south of l'Espada we studied the area of Arroyofrio (Geyer, 1995a, b).

The ammonoids studied were deposited in museums (Museu de Valltorta: MV, Valencia; Conjunto Paleontologico de Teruel: CPT, Aragon) or in university collections (Colleccions de Paleontologia de la Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona: PUAB, Bellaterra, Catalunya). We also studied ammonoids from private and museum collections (Museu Paleontologic Juan Cano Forner in Sant Mateu; Rafael Marti: RM, Andres Cumba: AC and Domingo Tolos: DT in La Jana, Valencia; Museu Geologic del Seminari Conciliar de Barcelona: MGSB, Barcelona). Finally, ammonoids figured in the literature were also analyzed.

4. Ammonite biostratigraphy

Ammonoids are generally rare and sparsely distributed throughout the Lower Cretaceous succession of the Maestrat Basin. Only few individual beds or marly intervals yielded abundant material. However, the large time span comprised by the ammonoid collection allows us to present a very complete record.

4.1. Lower Hauterivian

Few works quote ammonoids of this age, all of which were found in the Salzedella Sub-basin (Fig. 1). Canerot (1974) listed some species from the environs of the village of Sant Mateu, La Torre d'en Besora and Massis de la Serratella localities. Neumann (1987) identified some ammonoids of the Acanthodiscus radiatus Zone in La Torre d'en Domenec and others from the Lower Hauterivian of La Torre d'en Besora. In La Torre d'en Domenec, Moreno et al. (2007) identified two biozones: Acanthodiscus radiatus and Crioceratites loryi. In the present work, we recognized all the ammonite zones of the Lower Hauterivian (Fig. 2).

Acanthodiscus radiatus Zone. This zone has been recognized by the occurrence of Breistrofferella cf. castellanensis (d'Orbigny) in La Torre d'en Domenec. (Fig. 4 E).

Crioceratites loryi Zone. Also in La Torre d'en Domenec, we have found Olcostephanus (Jeannoticeras) jeannoti (d'Orbigny) and Olcostephanus sayni (Kilian) (Fig. 4 H) species that characterize the Crioceratites loryi Zone. In particular, O. jeannoti is currently used to define its upper subzone.

Lyticoceras nodosoplicatum Zone. In the same locality, this zone is represented by the index taxa Lyticoceras nodosoplicatum (Kilian and Reboulet) (Fig. 4 A-B, F-G, I) and Lyticoceras kiliani Reboulet and Atrops (Fig. 4 C-D).

4.2. Upper Hauterivian

The ammonoids of this age come from the Salzedella Subbasin as well (Fig. 1). Canerot (1974) listed some species from La Torre d'en Besora. Neumann (1987) reported some ammonites from the Tossal d'Orenga and assigned them to the Plesiospitidiscus ligatus and Balearites balearis Zones. Martinez et al. (1994) studied the ammonoid record of the Les Bassetes del Coco de l'Estaca and also recognized the Plesiospitidiscus ligatus and Balearites balearis Zones. They also reported one specimen of the Castellfort-Coll d'Ares that they attributed to the species Crioceratites (Pseudothurmania) grandis, from the Pseudothumannia angulicostata Zone (=Pseudothumannia ohmi Zone of Reboulet et al, 2011).

Pseudothumannia ohmi Zone. In this work we have studied an interesting pyritized fauna coming from Les Bassetes del Coco de l'Estaca, and La Gaita. We have identified: Barremites primitivus Cecca, Faraoni and Marini (Fig. 5 A-E, F, I-J, N-P), Plesiospitidiscus sp. (Fig. 5 K) and Pseudothurmannia sp. (Fig. 5 G-H, L-M). This fauna probably indicates the middle-upper part of the zone (Pseudothumannia catulloi and/or Pseudothumanniapicteti Subzones).

4.3. Upper Barremian

Lopez Llorens (2007) reported the finding of a sole Barremian ammonite from the Morella Sub-basin, a juvenile heteroceratid that he attributed to the Imerites giraudi (Kilian). The revision of this specimen for the present work indicates that the determination was probably wrong and this ammonoid is most likely an Argvethites sp. The genus Argvethites sp. is present in the uppermost Barremian (Imerites giraudi Zone, spanning both the Imerites giraudi and the Martelites sarasini Subzones (Delanoy, 1997).

4.4. Lower Aptian

The Lower Aptian ammonite record is the best-known record in the Maestrat Basin (Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2010a). These authors recognized four zones and five subzones some of which are new, and were recently accepted and published in the biostratigraphic scheme of the latest standard Mediterranean zonation (Reboulet et al, 2011). More recently, studies such as Moreno-Bedmar and Garcia (2011) and Delanoy et al. (2013) have helped to complete the knowledge about the Lower Aptian ammonoid record.

Deshayesites oglanlensis Zone. Moreno-Bedmar et al. (2010a) and Moreno-Bedmar and Garcia (2011) identified the Deshayesites oglanlensis Zone and proposed a new Deshayesites luppovi Subzone in the Morella Sub-basin (Figs. 1 and 3). In this zone, the following species were recognized: Procheloniceras sp., Deshayesites antiquus Bogdanova (Fig. 6 A), Deshayesites luppovi Bogdanova (Fig. 6 B), and Deshayesites sp. cf. oglanlensis Bogdanova.

Deshayesites forbesi Zone. Moreno-Bedmar et al. (2010a) proposed the inclusion of this boreal zone in the Tethyan zonation. This zone was identified in the Oliete, Morella and Galve sub-basins (Fig. 1). They also proposed a Roloboceras hambrovi Subzone (Fig. 3). Recently, Grauges et al. (2010) studied the taxonomy of the Lower Aptian desmoceratid fauna (Pseudosaynella and Pseudohaploceras genera) of this zone in the Oliete Sub-basin. Moreno-Bedmar and Garcia (2011) provided new data from the ammonoid record on the lower part of this zone in the Morella Sub-basin through the collection of new specimens, including the best specimen of the index species known to date of this biozone, Deshayesites forbesi. The species recognized in this zone are: Pseudosaynella raresulcata (d'Orbigny) (= Pseudosaynella undulata (Sarasin), see Grauges et al., 2010, p. 9), Pseudosaynella bicurvata (Michelin), Pseudosaynella sp., Barremites sp., Pseudohaploceras liptoviense (Zeuschner), Pseudohaploceras sp., Toxoceratoides royerianus (d'Orbigny), Ancyloceras? sp., Proaustraliceras sp., Lithancylus cf. grandis (Sowerby), Cheloniceras sp., Roloboceras hambrovi (Forbes), Roloboceras hispanicum Sornay and Marin, Roloboceras sp., Megatyloceras coronatum (Rouchadze), Megatyloceras transiens Casey, Deshayesites euglyphus Casey, Deshayesites gr. euglyphus/spathi Casey, Deshayesites forbesi Casey (Fig. 6 C-D), Deshayesites spathi Casey and Deshayesites sp.

Deshayesites deshayesi Zone. Moreno-Bedmar et al. (2010a) identified the Deshayesites deshayesi Zone and its Subzone, Deshayesites grandis, in the Morella, Galve, Salzedella and Penyagolosa sub-basins (Figs. 1 and 3). This zone contains the species: Phylloceras sp., Lytoceras belliseptatum, Anthula, Pseudosaynella raresulcata (d'Orbigny), Pseudosaynella bicurvata (Michelin), Pseudohaploceras sp., Ammonitoceras (Epancyloceras) sp., Proaustraliceras cf. gigas (Sowerby), Toxoceratoides royerianus (d'Orbigny), Cheloniceras cornuelianum (d'Orbigny), Deshayesites deshayesi (d'Orbigny) (Fig. 6 E-G), Deshayesites vectensis (Spath) (Fig. 6 H), Deshayesites latilobatus/involutus group, Deshayesites grandis (Spath) and Deshayesites sp. Recently a new genus and species was described in Salzedella Sub-basin, Xerticeras salasi Delanoy, Moreno-Bedmar, Ruiz, Tolos Lladser, 2013. This new taxon is present in Deshayesites deshayesi and Dufrenoya furcata zones.

Dufrenoyia furcata Zone. Moreno-Bedmar et al. (2010a, 2010b) identified this zone in the Perello, Galve, Salzedella and Penyagolosa sub-basins (Fig. 1). They also recognized the two subzones proposed by Dutour (2005) in the Vocontian Basin (France): Dufrenoyia furcata and Dufrenoyia dufrenoyi. Moreno-Bedmar et al. (2010b) and Garcia and Moreno-Bedmar (2010) contributed to the knowledge of the Dufrenoyia furcata Zone in the Perello Sub-basin where they studied a rich record of pyritized ammonites. Moreno-Bedmar et al. (2011, 2012b) studied some species of the Dufrenoyia genus from the uppermost part of this zone in the Morella and Galve sub-basins. The following species were recognized in this zone: Phyllopachyceras baborense (Coquand), Salfeldiella sp., Pseudosaynella raresulcata (d'Orbigny), Pseudohaploceras sp., Macroscaphites striasulcatus (d'Orbigny), Aconeceras nisum (d'Orbigny), Cheloniceras cornuelianum (d'Orbigny), Dufrenoyia furcata (Sowerby), Dufrenoyia cf. furcata (Sowerby) (Fig. 6 I-N), Dufrenoyia dufrenoyi (d'Orbigny), Dufrenoyia cf. dufrenoyi (d'Orbigny), Dufrenoyia cf. transitoria Casey, Dufrenoyia cf. justinae (Hill) (Fig. 6 O-P) and Colombiceras sp.

4.5. Upper Aptian

Epicheloniceras martini Zone. This zone has been identified only in the Benicassim-Orpesa area, Penyagolosa Sub-basin (Fig. 1) (Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2009). The ammonites reported are: Caseyella sp. (Fig. 7 C), Colombiceras sp., Epicheloniceras sp. (Fig. 7 D-E) and Epicheloniceras cf. debile.

Parahoplites melchioris Zone. Ammonites characteristic of this zone have been cited in several previous papers. Sornay and Marin (1971) reported the occurrence of Acanthohoplites sp. and Parahoplites sp. from Canizar del Olivar (Oliete Subbasin) and of Parahoplites cf. cunningtoni from Cantavieja (Galve Sub-basin). Martinez et al. (1994) identified the ammonoid Parahoplites maximus in the Oliete Sub-basin and Parahoplites nutfieldiensis in Xodos (Penyagolosa Sub-basin). Moreno-Bedmar et al. (2009b) recorded Parahoplites cf. vectensis in the Benicassim-Orpesa area (Penyagolosa Sub-basin). The revision of ammonoids of this zone for the present work resulted in the following identifications: Parahoplites nutfieldiensis (Sowerby) (Fig. 7 F) from Xodos, Parahoplites cf. vectensis Casey (Fig. 7 A-B) from the Benicassim-Orpesa area and Parahoplites sp. in the environs of the village of Benassal (Salzedella Sub-basin).

Acanthohoplites nolani Zone. Weisser (1959) described a specimen of Acanthohoplites bergeroni (Seunes) from Villaroya de los Pinares (Galve Sub-basin) and Martinez et al. (1994) reported the same taxon from the Oliete Sub-basin. We have not been able to revise these specimens or collect other ammonites from these sub-basins.

4.6. Lower Albian

The Albian ammonoid occurrences are essentially restricted to the environs of Traiguera (Salzedella Sub-basin) (Fig. 1). Canerot and Collignon (1981) first reported these ammonoids and ascribed them to the Upper Aptian. Later, Martinez et al. (1994) assigned the same record to the Lower Albian, and this age-attribution has been recently confirmed by Moreno-Bedmar et al. (2008).

Leymeriella tardefurcata Zone. Martinez et al. (1994) attributed the ammonoid record of the Traiguera area to the Douvilleiceras mammillatum Zone. However, they noted that some of the species could also be assigned to the Leymeriella tardefurcata Zone. This record was studied by MorenoBedmar et al. (2008), who confirmed that the lower part of the ammonoid record of Traiguera belongs to the Leymeriella tardefurcata Zone. This zone is represented by the species: Douvilleiceras gr. leightonense Casey (Fig. 8 D-E), Parengonoceras basei (Batalller), Parengonoceras cf. ebrayi (Loriol) (Fig. 8 C), Parengonoceras caneroti Collignon (Fig. 8 G, J), "Hypacanthoplites" sp. 1 (Fig. 8 A-B) and "Hypacanthoplites" sp. 2 (Fig. 8 F).

Douvilleiceras mammillatum Zone. Martinez et al. (1994) identified Douvilleiceras monile (Sowerby) in the Traiguera area and Douvilleiceras mammillatum (Schlotheim) (Fig. 8 H-I) in Benassal (Salzedella Sub-basin). We had access to these specimens and confirm these identifications.

5. Novel and relevant biostratigraphic considerations

The La Gaita Formation (Fig. 2), which crops out in the Salzedella Sub-basin (Fig. 1), comprises the whole Hauterivian. The relative sea-level rose during the Late Valanginian to the Early Hauterivian, thus allowing the record of all of the Lower Hauterivian ammonite zones. During the Late Hauterivian, the relative sea-level remained low except in the middle part of the Pseudothumannia ohmi Zone, and it is thus the only ammonoid record that exists in the Upper Hauterivian of the Maestrat Basin. This age corresponds with the maximum flooding interval of the Ha6 global sequence of Handerbol et al. (1998) that it is associated with the Faraoni level (Company et al., 2005; Gradstein et al., 2004). This important transgression is recorded in the La Gaita Formation as a marly interval 10 to 20 meters thick that contains a well preserved pyritized ammonite record.

Argvethites sp. is the only ammonoid found in the Morella Formation. According to this, at least the lower and middle parts of the formation should be assigned to the Upper Barremian. This would support the hypothesis exposed by Moreno-Bedmar and Garcia (2011), who proposed that the Barremian-Aptian boundary is located in the basal part of the Forcall Formation. This proposal is based on the fact that the species Deshayesites antiquus Bogdanova and Deshayesites sp. cf. oglanlensis Bogdanova, which are characteristic of the lower part of the first Aptian ammonite zone (Deshayesites oglanlensis Zone), are found in the lower, non-basal part of the Forcall Formation. Moreno-Bedmar and Garcia (2011) also compared the position of the Barremian-Aptian boundary with the Provencal Platform (France) and the Organya Basin (Spain), both of which have a similar marine transgressive event starting in the uppermost Barremian. The basal marine transgressive deposits in both areas have an ammonoid record of the Pseudocrioceras genus that belongs to the uppermost Barremian. Unfortunately, to date no ammonoids have been found in the basal materials of the Forcall Formation and the possible position of the Barremian-Aptian boundary in the lower part of this formation remains only a plausible hypothesis at the present time. Moreover, the possibility that the ammonite collected within the Morella Formation by Lopez Llorens (2007) corresponds to a reworked specimen should not be ruled out.

All of the Lower Aptian ammonite biozones are present in the Forcall Formation (Fig. 3). At least in the different sub-basins, the Forcall Formation recorded the ammonoids during the maximum flooding interval of the Ap3 global sequence of the Handerbol et al. (1998) that is associated with the Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a (Bover-Arnal et al., 2010). This Lower Aptian record varies between the different sub-basins. For example, in the Oliete Sub-basin only one ammonoid zone is recorded while the Morella Sub-basin recorded the four zones. These differences depended on the depositional space available, which was controlled by the eustatic fluctuations and the local subsidence of each sub-basin.

In the Villarroya de los Pinares Formation, ammonoid occurrence was only reported from Las Mingachas locality (Galve Sub-basin). Specimens of Dufrenoyia sp. of the Dufrenoyia furcata Zone were found within a bed with a rudstone texture interpreted by Bover-Arnal et al. (2009) as a forced regressive wedge, and in the overlying slopes of a lowstand normal regressive carbonate platform (Bover-Arnal et al., 2009; 2012). Throughout the Maestrat Basin, the age of the Villarroya de los Pinares Formation ranges between the Deshayesites deshayesi and the Dufrenoyia furcata zones, but it is usually restricted to the middle part of the Dufrenoyia furcata Zone (Fig. 3).

The Benassal Formation recorded two large-scale transgressive-regressive sequences (Bover-Arnal et al., 2010). The ammonoids are present in the transgressive units, which are dominated by marls and marly limestones. The first transgresive unit corresponds to the Ap4 global sequence of Handerbol et al. (1998). This transgressive unit recorded two ammonite zones: the uppermost part of the Dufrenoyia furcata Zone and the Epicheloniceras martini Zone (Fig. 3). The basal beds of the Benassal Formation have been historically assigned to the Upper Aptian (Canerot et al., 1982; Salas, 1987; Bover-Arnal et al., 2010). However, in the Galve and the Morella sub-basins we recently assigned these beds to the uppermost part of the Lower Aptian, specifically to the uppermost part of the Dufrenoyia furcata Zone (Moreno-Bedmar, 2010; Moreno-Bedmar et at., 2011, 2012b; Bover-Arnal et al., in press). The second transgressive unit recorded the Parahoptites melchioris Zone (Martin-Martin et at., 2013). In the upper part of the Benassal Formation in the Galve and the Oliete sub-basins a significantly scarce ammonoid record of the Acanthohoplites nolani Zone is preserved. This biozone comprises the maximum flooding interval of the Ap5 global sequence of Handerbol et al. (1998). In the Oliete Sub-basin, the Dehesa Formation, which is a lateral equivalent of the Benassal Formation, contains the Parahoplites melchioris and Acanthohoplites nolani zones.

The occurrence of Lower Albian ammonoids in the lower part of the Escucha Formation is probably linked to the strong transgressions corresponding to the global sequences Ap6, Al1, Al2 and/or Al3 of Handerbol et al. (1998). The continental deposits of the middle and upper parts of the formation have been assigned to the upper part of the Lower Albian and the entire Middle Albian based on the palynological studies of Villanueva-Amadoz et al. (2010, 2011). The fluvial sandstones of the Utrillas Formation overlie the Escucha Formation. Above the Utrillas Formation an informal unit of green marls crops out, which mark the transition between the Utrillas Formation and the marine limestones and marls of the Mosqueruela Formation (Canerot et al., 1982). These Green Marls were studied by Villanueva-Amadoz et al. (2011) who assigned them to the uppermost Albian. In the Maestrat Basin no ammonoids were found in these marls. However, some ammonoids were collected by Geyer (1995a, b) in the Arroyofrio locality (Montes Universales de Albarracin, Teruel, South Iberian Basin). We reviewed these ammonoids for the present study and assigned them to the species Engonhoplitoides cf. vicorpense (Basse) (Fig. 9 A-C). Although the taxonomic and biostratigraphic knowledge of this taxon is poor, these ammonoids can be assigned without doubt to the Upper Albian. This is in agreement with the results by Villanueva-Amadoz et al. (2011).

6. Conclusions

The analysis of the stratigraphic distribution of ammonites in the Maestrat Basin allowed us to establish the faunal succession for the Lower Cretaceous (Hauterivian-Albian) in this region. We recognized the following zones: Acanthodiscus radiatus, Crioceratites loryi, Lyticoceras nodosoplicatum (Lower Hauterivian); Pseudothurmannia ohmi (Upper Hauterivian); Imerites giraudi (Upper Barremian); Deshayesites oglanlensis, Deshayesites forbesi, Deshayesites deshayesi, Dufrenoyia furcata (Lower Aptian); Epicheloniceras martini, Parahoplites melchioris, Acanthohoplites nolani (Upper Aptian); Leymeriella tardefurcata and Douvilleiceras mammillatum (Lower Albian). We also identified the following subzones: the Olcostephanus (Jeannoticeras) jeannoti in the upper half of the Crioceratites loryi Zone, the Deshayesites luppovi in the upper half of the Deshayesites oglanlensis Zone, the Roloboceras hambrovi in the upper half of the Deshayesites forbesi Zone, the Deshayesites grandis in the upper half of the Deshayesites deshayesi Zone and the twofold subdivision of the

Dufrenoyia furcata Zone in two subzones, Dufrenoyia furcata and Dufrenoyia dufrenoyi.

Consequently, this study accurately determines the age of the lithostratigraphic units defined in this basin. In the lower part of the La Gaita Formation, we found recorded the three zones of the Lower Hauterivian. The uppermost part of this latter formation corresponds to the Pseudothurmania ohmi Zone. The Imerites giraudi Zone occurs in the Morella Formation. In the Forcall Formation, we found the four zones of the Lower Aptian. The ammonite record suggests that the base of this formation could be of Late Barremian age. The age of Villarroya de los Pinares Formation ranges, in different areas of the basin, from the Deshayesites deshayesi to the Dufrenoyia furcata Zones. The base of the Benassal Formation corresponds to the upper part of the Dufrenoyia furcata Zone in most parts of the Maestrat Basin. The rest of the Benassal Formation is Late Aptian in age. The lower part of the Escucha Formation recorded the two Lower Albian biozones.

7. Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the grants of the Swiss National Science Foundation (no. 20-121545), the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion (I+D+i research project CGL2008-04916), the Consolider-Ingenio 2010 programme, under CSD 2006-0004 "Topo-Iberia", the Grup Consolidat de Recerca "Geologia Sedimentaria" (2009SGR-1451), the research project CGL2011-23759 and the research group RNM-178 (Junta de Andalucia). We are very grateful for the helpful reviews made by Peter F. Rawson and Kevin Page.

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R. Garcia (1), J.A. Moreno-Bedmar * (2), T. Bover-Arnal (3), M. Company (4), R. Salas (3), J-L. Latil (5), J.D. Martin-Martin (4), E. Gomez-Rivas (6), L.G. Bulot (7), G. Delanoy (8), R. Martinez (9), A. Grauges (9)

(1) Av. Josep Tarradelles i Joan 14 bxs. 4a, 08870, Sitges, Barcelona, Spain.

(2) Departamento de Paleontologia, Instituto de Geologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegacion Coyoacan, 04510, Mexico, D.F., Mexico.

(3) Departamento de Estratigrafia y Paleontologia, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Granada, 18002 Granada, Spain.

(4) Departament de Geoquimica, Petrologia i Prospeccio Geologica, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

(5) Le Maupas, F-05300 Lazer, France

(6) Department of Geosciences, Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen, Wilhelmstrasse 56, 72074 Tubingen, Germany.

(7) FRE CNRS 2761, Geologie des Systemes Carbonates, Universite de Provence, F- 13331 Marseille Cedex, France.

(8) Departement des Sciences de la Terre, Universite de Nice-Sophia Antipolis. 28 Avenue Valrose F-06100 Nice, France.

(9) Departament de Geologia. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Edifici C. 08193-Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.

e-mail addresses: (R.G.); (J.A.M.-B., * author); (T.B.-A.); (M.C.); (R.S.); (J.L.- L.); (J.D.M.-M.);

(E.G.-R.); (L.G.B.); (G.D.); (R.M.); (A.G.)

Received: 3 September 2012 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Available online: 25 February 2014
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Title Annotation:articulo en ingles
Author:Garcia, R.; Moreno-Bedmar, J.A.; Bover-Arnal, T.; Company, M.; Salas, R.; Latil, J.-L.; Martin-Marti
Publication:Journal of Iberian Geology
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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